Saving money on your food bill
Your first goal when it comes to food is to ensure that you eat a healthy and balanced diet. I think this should be the last thing in the budget you cut. In fact, if I were to advocate increasing your budget in any area it would be this one. Organic food costs more. In the end, the quality of the calories you put in your body are important. If you do not believe this you have never seen 'Supersize Me'.
What you feed your family is an area of the budget that a family or individual can really save some money. When we were a family of four our foodbudget was $125.00. per week. We are now empty nesters and this is still our budget. We now only buy organic fruits and vegetables. I would not say we are pinching pennies, and by no means are we being extravagent. We also live in the Pacific Nothwest. Prices do vary somewhat according to where you live.
There are many of you out there spending twice this amount. Even in our situation we could easily if need be tighten our belts and lower this bill by 30%. Yes, 30%
For the amount we spend a 30% savings amounts to $1950.00. If you are spending twice the amount we are that 30% savings can amount to a budget savings of almost $4000.00 a year. That is a nice chunk of change for that big screen TV, or to pay down your debt, or whatever other means you want to use it for.
Before I get into some details I want to add that a key element to managing and reducing any aspect of your budget is having the right attitude. Also, you need to have some discipline and be able to stick to your guns. Set goals that are attainable.
Seven quick tips to save money on your food budget
- Buy the store brand.
- Buy fruits and vegetables that are on sale.
- Shop farmers markets.
- Read the flyers in the newspaper and clip coupons. Use Groupon or sites like it.
- Shop more than one store.
- Buy less prepared foods.
- Go to the store after you have eaten.
- Avoid impulse buying on quick trips.
Buying the store brand
Some folks are brand loyalists. Buying brand names can cost you a lot more money. The reality is that in a blind taste test most of us could not tell the difference between the store brand and the name brand. In some cases the only difference between the name brand and the store brand is the label they put on the can at the factory. Canned and frozen vegetables get picked from the same fields on the farm.
Buying fresh fruits and vegetables on sale
We just spent .88 cents a pound for Fuji apples (2012). They normally are $1.49 a pound. Thats a pretty good savings. We just love Fuji's. We like a lot of other fruits and vegetables as well. My point here is that there typically is going to be some fruits or vegetables that you like that are on sale. Buy what is on sale and you will save money.
By locally grown produce from farmers markets, co-ops. Support local farmers. Often times the prices are as good as the stores and the produce is typically certified organic or raised using organic practices. The food is locally sourced, fresher, and richer in vitamins and nutrients. You also will be supporting small local farmers!!!
Shop more than one store
Do this in conjunction with shopping the weekly flyers. Whether you do one big weekly shop at three stores or some other plan that works for you, a sure fire way to save money is to shop more than one store.
Buy less prepared foods
Most people buy prepared foods because they are convenient. They are also a lot more expensive. A bag of noodles, and a few cans of store brand cream of mushroom or chicken soup is a lot cheaper and goes a lot farther than a box of Hamburger Helper. It really does not take any more time to cook up you meal using the ingredients I named.
Shop on a full stomach
Nothing more really needs to be said about this.
So how do you pull all this off?
- Set a plan and stick to it
- Get the food money in cash for the week and put it in an envelope. This is your budget, when the money runs out you are done.
- Never (ever) go to the store without a list. Stick to the list!
- Treat yourself to an inpulse buy once or twice a month. Hold out money in your budget just for this. You will have something to look forward to.